WOODSTOCK -- A Shenandoah County man faces prison time for possessing child pornography.
Caleb Andrew McKee pleaded guilty in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Wednesday to one count of possession of child pornography and 11 counts of the same crime as a second or subsequent offense. A grand jury indicted McKee, 29, of 496 Royal Ave., Strasburg, on Feb. 14, 2018, on one count of possession of child pornography and 106 counts of the same crime as a subsequent offense. Indictments indicate the offenses took place Sept. 27, 2017.
An agreement reached Tuesday between Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Austin Hovermale and McKee’s lawyer, William B. Allen III called for the defendant to plead guilty to the 12 charges. The plea agreement leaves it up to the court to set McKee’s punishment but limits the defendant’s active time to 12 years and five months.
Judge Kevin C. Black accepted the agreement and McKee’s guilty pleas and scheduled sentencing for Oct. 2. Black found McKee guilty of the charges. The judge ordered a pre-sentencing report for the sentencing hearing and that McKee undergo a sex offender evaluation.
Black then dismissed McKee’s remaining charges under terms of the agreement at the prosecutor’s request.
Sentencing guidelines prepared in McKee’s case recommended that the defendant should serve between four years and four months to 12 years and five months of incarceration. Black told McKee that he does not have to abide by the guidelines when imposing sentence. Allen noted that the agreement sets a cap on punishment, which is the same as the high end of the sentencing guidelines.
Hovermale provided a synopsis of the evidence the prosecutor planned to present had the case gone to trial. The case arose out of a tip provided to the Northern Virginia-Washington, D.C. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force that an image depicting child pornography had been downloaded to a computer, Hovermale said. The task force obtained the internet protocol address of the computer. Investigators traced the address to a residence in Strasburg, Hovermale said. Officers obtained a search warrant for the Strasburg residence where they retrieved electronic devices, Hovermale added. Investigators found images on the devices they identified as child pornography.
Allen noted that his client complied with the investigation and made statements against his own interest.
Hovermale told the judge that none of the images found in the investigation led prosecutors to charge McKee with distribution or producing child pornography. The indictments do not reflect the exact number of images discovered by investigators, Hovermale said.